|Publication number||US7175557 B2|
|Application number||US 10/999,859|
|Publication date||Feb 13, 2007|
|Filing date||Nov 30, 2004|
|Priority date||Feb 21, 2003|
|Also published as||CA2588731A1, EP1828638A2, EP1828638A4, US20060199697, WO2006060139A2, WO2006060139A3|
|Publication number||10999859, 999859, US 7175557 B2, US 7175557B2, US-B2-7175557, US7175557 B2, US7175557B2|
|Inventors||Malcolm E. Kirkwood, Thomas C. Bowen|
|Original Assignee||Magna Powertrain Usa, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (26), Referenced by (30), Classifications (44), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/973,071 filed Oct. 25, 2004 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,945,375, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 10/371,415 filed Feb. 21, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,808,053 issued Oct. 26, 2004.
The present invention relates generally to power transfer systems for controlling the distribution of drive torque between the front and rear drivelines of a four-wheel drive vehicle and/or the left and right wheels of an axle assembly. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a power transmission device for use in motor vehicle driveline applications having a pair of torque transfer mechanisms which are each equipped with a power-operated clutch actuator that is operable for controlling actuation of a multi-plate friction clutch.
In view of increased demand for four-wheel drive vehicles, a plethora of power transfer systems are currently being incorporated into vehicular driveline applications for transferring drive torque to the wheels. In many vehicles, a power transmission device is operably installed between the primary and secondary drivelines. Such power transmission devices are typically equipped with a torque transfer mechanism for selectively and/or automatically transferring drive torque from the primary driveline to the secondary driveline to establish a four-wheel drive mode of operation. For example, the torque transfer mechanism can include a dog-type lock-up clutch that can be selectively engaged for rigidly coupling the secondary driveline to the primary driveline to establish a “part-time” four-wheel drive mode. When the lock-up clutch is released, drive torque is only delivered to the primary driveline for establishing a two-wheel drive mode.
A modern trend in four-wheel drive motor vehicles is to equip the power transmission device with an adaptively controlled transfer clutch in place of the lock-up clutch. The transfer clutch is operable for automatically directing drive torque to the secondary wheels, without any input or action on the part of the vehicle operator, when traction is lost at the primary wheels for establishing an “on-demand” four-wheel drive mode. Typically, the transfer clutch includes a multi-plate clutch assembly that is installed between the primary and secondary drivelines and a clutch actuator for generating a clutch engagement force that is applied to the clutch assembly. The clutch actuator can be a power-operated device that is actuated in response to electric control signals sent from an electronic controller unit (ECU). Variable control of the electric control signal is typically based on changes in current operating characteristics of the vehicle (i.e., vehicle speed, interaxle speed difference, acceleration, steering angle, etc.) as detected by various sensors. Thus, such “on-demand” transfer clutch can utilize adaptive control schemes for automatically controlling torque distribution during all types of driving and road conditions.
A large number of on-demand transfer clutches have been developed with an electrically-controlled clutch actuator that can regulate the amount of drive torque transferred to the secondary output shaft as a function of the value of the electrical control signal applied thereto. In some applications, the transfer clutch employs an electromagnetic clutch as the power-operated clutch actuator. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,407,024 discloses a electromagnetic coil that is incrementally activated to control movement of a ball-ramp drive assembly for applying a clutch engagement force to the multi-plate clutch assembly. Likewise, Japanese Laid-open Patent Application No. 62-18117 discloses a transfer clutch equipped with an electromagnetic actuator for directly controlling actuation of the multi-plate clutch pack assembly.
As an alternative, the transfer clutch can employ an electric motor and a drive assembly as the power-operated clutch actuator. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,323,871 discloses an on-demand transfer case having a transfer clutch equipped with an electric motor that controls rotation of a sector plate which, in turn, controls pivotal movement of a lever arm that is operable for applying the clutch engagement force to the multi-plate clutch assembly. In addition, Japanese Laid-open Patent Application No. 63-66927 discloses a transfer clutch which uses an electric motor to rotate one cam plate of a ball-ramp operator for engaging the multi-plate clutch assembly. Finally, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,895,236 and 5,423,235 respectively disclose a transfer case equipped with a transfer clutch having an electric motor driving a reduction gearset for controlling movement of a ball screw operator and a ball-ramp operator which, in turn, apply the clutch engagement force to the clutch assembly.
To further enhance the tractive and stability characteristics of four-wheel drive vehicles, it is known to equip such vehicles with brake-based electronic stability control systems and/or traction distributing axle assemblies. Typically, such axle assemblies include a drive mechanism that is operable for adaptively regulating the side-to-side (i.e., left-right) torque and speed characteristics between a pair of drive wheels. In some instances, a pair of modulatable clutches are used to provide this side-to-side control as is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,378,677 and 5,699,888. As an alternative, a hydraulically-operated traction distribution axle assembly is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,520,880. Additional traction distributing axle assemblies are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,370,588 and 6,213,241.
While many on-demand clutch control systems similar to those described above are currently used in four-wheel drive vehicles, a need exists to advance the technology and address recognized system limitations. For example, the size and weight of the friction clutch components and the electrical power requirements of the clutch actuator needed to provide the large clutch engagement loads may make such system cost prohibitive in some four-wheel drive vehicle applications. In an effort to address these concerns, new technologies are being considered for use in power-operated clutch actuator applications.
Thus, its is an object of the present invention to provide a power transmission device for use in a motor vehicle having a torque transfer mechanism equipped with a power-operated clutch actuator that is operable to control engagement of a multi-plate clutch assembly.
As a related object, the torque transfer mechanism of the present invention is well-suited for use in motor vehicle driveline applications to control the transfer of drive torque between a first rotary member and a second rotary member.
According to a further object of the present invention, the torque transfer mechanism and control system are used for adaptively controlling the transfer of drive torque between a first rotary member and a second rotary member in a power transmission devices of the type used in motor vehicle driveline applications. The torque transfer mechanism includes a multi-plate friction clutch assembly operably disposed between the first and second rotary members, and a clutch actuator assembly for generating a clutch engagement force to be exerted on the clutch assembly. The clutch actuator assembly preferably includes an electric motor/brake unit, a torque/force conversion mechanism and a force amplification mechanism. The electric motor/brake unit can be switched by the control system between a motor (i.e., torque producing) mode and a brake (i.e., torque absorbing) mode for generating an output torque that is converted by the torque/force conversion mechanism into an axially-directed thrust force. Thereafter, thrust force is amplified by the force amplification mechanism to define the clutch engagement force.
According to another object of the present invention, the control system operates the motor/brake unit in its motor mode when the speed of one of the rotary members is less than a predetermined threshold speed value so as to drive a rotor of the motor/brake unit which causes axial movement of an output member of the torque/force conversion mechanism. The control system switches the motor/brake unit into its brake mode when the rotary speed exceeds the threshold speed value so as to apply a dynamic brake torque to the rotor for controlling axial movement of the output member of the torque/force conversion mechanism. The present invention provides a clutch actuator assembly utilizing a low torque motor which acts as a generator during the brake mode so as to significantly reduce the electrical power requirement needed to adaptively control torque transfer through the clutch assembly.
The torque transfer mechanism of the present invention is adapted for use in a power transmission device for adaptively controlling the drive torque transferred between a primary driveline and a secondary driveline. According to one preferred application, the power transmission device of the present invention is a transfer case with the torque transfer mechanism arranged as a torque transfer coupling for providing on-demand torque transfer from the primary driveline to the secondary driveline. In a related application, the torque transfer mechanism is arranged as a torque bias coupling for varying the torque distribution and limiting interaxle slip between the primary and secondary drivelines. According to another preferred application, the power transmission device is a drive axle assembly with the torque transfer mechanism arranged as a torque bias coupling to control speed differentiation and torque distribution across a differential unit.
In accordance with another feature of the present invention, the control system is provided for use in driveline applications equipped with two or more torque couplings that are operable to control coordinated actuation of each electric motor/brake unit. In particular, switching each of the motor/brake units between operation in their motor and brake modes permits regenerated electrical power to be used, thereby significantly reducing the electrical power requirements from the vehicle's host system.
As a related object of the present invention, a drive axle assembly having a torque distributing drive mechanism and an active yaw control system are disclosed. The torque distributing drive mechanism includes a differential and first and second electric motor/brake units. The differential functions to transfer drive torque from the vehicle's powertrain to first and second axleshafts while permitting speed differentiation therebetween. The first motor/brake unit is operable for selectively increasing or decreasing the rotary speed of the first axleshaft while the second motor/brake unit is similarly arranged for selectively increasing or decreasing the rotary speed of the second axleshaft. Accordingly, selective control over actuation of one or both of the motor/brake units provides adaptive control of the speed differentiation and drive torque transferred between the first and second axleshafts. The active yaw control system includes sensors for detecting a vehicle yaw condition and a controller for switching the motor/brake units between their motor and brake modes to adaptively vary the rotary speed of one or both axleshafts to counteract the yaw condition.
In accordance with another embodiment, the torque distributing drive mechanism includes a differential, a speed changing unit, and first and second torque couplings that are operable to selectively vary the rotary speed of one axleshaft so as to cause corresponding variation in the rotary speed of the other axleshaft. Each torque coupling includes a multi-plate friction clutch and a clutch actuator assembly having an electric motor/brake unit.
Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from analysis of the following written description, the appended claims, and accompanying drawings in which:
The present invention is directed to torque transfer mechanisms that can be adaptively controlled for modulating the torque transferred between first and second rotary members. The torque transfer mechanism finds particular application in power transmission devices for use in motor vehicle drivelines such as, for example, an on-demand transfer clutch in a transfer case or an in-line torque coupling, a biasing clutch associated with a differential assembly in a transfer case or a drive axle assembly, or as a shift clutch in a multi-speed automatic transmission. Thus, while the present invention is hereinafter described in association with particular power transmission devices for use in specific driveline applications, it will be understood that the arrangements shown and described are merely intended to illustrate embodiments of the present invention.
With particular reference to
With continued reference to the drawings, drivetrain 10 is shown to further include an electronically-controlled power transfer system for permitting a vehicle operator to select between a two-wheel drive mode, a locked (“part-time”) four-wheel drive mode, and an adaptive (“on-demand”) four-wheel drive mode. In this regard, transfer case 22 is equipped with a transfer clutch 50 that can be selectively actuated for transferring drive torque from rear output shaft 32 to front output shaft 42 for establishing both of the part-time and on-demand four-wheel drive modes. The power transfer system further includes a power-operated mode actuator 52 for actuating transfer clutch 50, vehicle sensors 54 for detecting certain dynamic and operational characteristics of the motor vehicle, a mode select mechanism 56 for permitting the vehicle operator to select one of the available drive modes, and a controller 58 for controlling actuation of mode actuator 52 in response to input signals from vehicle sensors 54 and mode selector 56.
Transfer case 22 is shown in
Transfer clutch 50 is a multi-plate friction clutch assembly 80 and mode actuator 52 is a power-operated clutch actuator assembly 82 which together define a torque transfer mechanism according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Friction clutch assembly 80 includes a hub 84 fixed via a spline connection 86 to rear output shaft 32, a drum 88, and a multi-plate clutch pack 90 that is operably disposed between hub 84 and drum 88. Clutch pack 90 includes a set of outer clutch plates 92 splined for rotation with drum 88 and which are interleaved with a set of inner clutch plates 94 splined for rotation with hub 84. Clutch assembly 80 further includes a pressure plate 96 that is splined for rotation with drum 88 and which has an annular rim flange 98 formed thereon. Pressure plate 96 is operably arranged to rotate with, and move axially relative to, drum 88 for exerting a compressive clutch engagement force on clutch pack 90. Such engagement of clutch pack 90 causes rotary power (“drive torque”) to be transferred from rear output shaft 32 to front output shaft 42 via a transfer assembly 100. Transfer assembly 100 includes a first sprocket 102 fixed via a spline connection 104 for rotation with drum 88, a second sprocket 106 fixed for rotation with front output shaft 42, and a power chain 108 encircling sprockets 102 and 106. First sprocket 102 is shown fixed to a tubular stub shaft segment 89 of drum 88 which is rotatably supported on rear output shaft 32 via a suitable bearing assembly such as sleeve bushing 109.
As will be detailed, clutch actuator assembly 82 is operable for controlling axial movement of pressure plate 96 and thus, the magnitude of the clutch engagement force applied to clutch pack 90. In particular, pressure plate 96 is axially moveable relative to clutch pack 90 between a first or “released” position and a second or “locked” position. With pressure plate 96 in its released position, a minimum clutch engagement force is exerted on clutch pack 90 such that virtually no drive torque is transferred from rear output shaft 32 through clutch assembly 80 and transfer assembly 100 to front output shaft 42, thereby establishing the two-wheel drive mode. In contrast, movement of pressure plate 96 to its locked position causes a maximum clutch engagement force to be applied to clutch pack 90 such that front output shaft 42 is, in effect, coupled for common rotation with rear output shaft 32, thereby establishing the part-time four-wheel drive mode. Accordingly, control of the position of pressure plate 96 between its released and locked positions permits adaptive regulation of the amount of drive torque transferred from rear output shaft 32 to front output shaft 42, thereby establishing the on-demand four-wheel drive mode.
To provide means for moving pressure plate 96 between its released and locked positions, clutch actuator assembly 82 is shown to generally include an electric motor/brake unit 110, a torque/force conversion mechanism 112, and force amplification mechanism 114. Motor/brake unit 110 is an annular assembly which includes a stator 116 and a rotor 120. Stator 116 is shown to be non-rotationally secured to housing 60 and includes sets of windings, referred to as coil 118, which has its electrical lead wires 122 extending out of housing 60 via a sealed plug hole 124. Rotor 120 includes a plate segment 126 and an annular rim segment 128. As will be detailed, plate segment 126 of rotor 120 is fixed for rotation with a first component of torque/force conversion mechanism 112. As seen, rim segment 128 of rotor 120 has a plurality of permanent magnets 130 secured thereto which are arranged in close proximity to the field windings of coil 118. The annular configuration of motor/brake unit 110 permits simple assembly in concentric relation to rear output shaft 32 within housing 60. In addition, the packaging of motor/brake unit 110 inside housing 60 is advantageous in comparison to externally-mounted electric motor-type clutch actuators that are exposed to the hostile road and weather conditions associated with power transmission devices in motor vehicles.
Torque/force conversion mechanism 112 is shown in
Force amplification mechanism 114 is shown to include a disk-type spring plate, such as a belleville spring 148, having a first end restrained against an annular retainer 150 fixed to nut 136 and a second end restrained in a circumferential groove 152 formed in drum 88. Preferably, belleville spring 148 has lugs at its outer peripheral edge that are coupled to drum 88 and lugs at its inner peripheral edge that are coupled to retainer 150. As such, belleville spring 148 couples nut 136 of ball screw operator 132 for common rotation with drum 88. In operation, when no torque is applied to rotor 120, screw 134 and nut 136 rotate together in response to rotation of drum 88.
To provide the desired force amplification characteristic, belleville spring 148 acts as a lever arm with an intermediate portion engaging rim flange 98 on pressure plate 96. A resilient ring 154 is retained in groove 152 between the outer end of belleville spring 148 and a reaction flange 156 that extends from drum 88. As is known, forward travel (i.e., to the left in
Compared to conventional electrically-operated clutch actuator systems, the present invention provides significant operational advantages. For instance, clutch actuator assembly 82 requires only minimal electric power from the vehicle's host electrical supply system since, throughout most of its typical duty cycle, motor/brake unit 110 functions in its brake mode and acts as an absorber/generator for generating electrical power that can be dissipated or used to power one or more auxiliary electric devices such as, for example, an electric lube pump. Specifically, when the rotary speed of rear output shaft 32 is below a predefined threshold value, motor/brake unit 110 operates in its motor mode wherein coil 118 must be energized via an electrical control signal from controller 58 to drive rotor 120 in the appropriate rotary direction and through a desired amount of angular travel. Such controlled rotation of rotor 120 causes nut 136 of ball screw operator 132 to move axially relative to screw 134 in a corresponding direction and through a desired length of travel, thereby varying the magnitude of the clutch engagement force applied to clutch pack 90. The predefined threshold rotary speed value is preferably, but not limited to, about 150 rpm which equates to a vehicle rolling speed of about 5 mph. Thus, the torque transfer mechanism of the present invention only uses motor/brake unit 110 in its motor mode to control torque transfer requirements during low speed situations. For example, motor/brake unit 110 operates in its motor mode to control the transfer of drive torque to front output shaft 42 during a quick start or acceleration situation to avoid traction loss of rear wheels 24.
Once the rotary speed of rear output shaft 32 exceeds the predefined threshold value, the control system switches functions such that motor/brake unit 110 operates in its brake mode as an electric brake (absorber/generator) for creating (regenerating) electric power. In particular, when the rotary speed of rear output shaft 32 is above the threshold value, rotation of rotor 120 (caused by rotation of ball screw operator 132) causes magnets 130 to generate a voltage in the field windings of coil 118. However, since coil 118 is not energized, no torque is applied to rotor 120. As such, ball screw operator 132 continues to rotate as a unit and nut 136 does not move axially in either direction. Upon energization of coil 118, a brake torque is generated which acts to slow rotation of rotor 120 and thus slow rotation of screw 134 relative to nut 136, thereby causing axial travel of nut 136 relative to clutch pack 90. With motor/brake unit 110 operating in the brake mode, the control system functions to maintain a predetermined torque on ball screw operator 132 which, in turn, acts to control engagement of clutch pack 90 so as to generate the desired amount of torque transfer to front output shaft 42. Preferably, motor/brake unit 110 is a dc pemanetic magnetic device since it will not require a commutator or brushes.
In operation, when mode selector 56 indicates selection of the two-wheel drive mode, controller 58 signals electric motor/brake unit 110 to rotate screw 134 until nut 136 is located in a rearward or “retracted” position. Such action permits pressure plate 96 to move to its released position. If mode selector 56 thereafter indicates selection of the part-time four-wheel drive mode, coil 118 of electric motor/brake unit 110 is signaled by controller 58 to rotate screw 134 for axially advancing nut 136 until it is located in a forward or “extended” position. Such movement of nut 136 to its extended position acts to cause corresponding movement of pressure plate 96 to its locked position, thereby coupling front output shaft 42 to rear output shaft 32 through clutch assembly 80 and transfer assembly 100.
When mode selector 56 indicates selection of the on-demand four-wheel drive mode, controller 58 signals motor/brake unit 110 to rotate screw 134 until nut 136 is located in a “stand-by” position. This stand-by position may be its retracted position or, in the alternative, an intermediate position. In either case, a predetermined minimum amount of drive torque is delivered to front output shaft 42 through clutch assembly 80 which is considered to be in its “ready” condition. Thereafter, controller 58 determines when and how much drive torque needs to be transferred to front output shaft 42 based on the current tractive conditions and/or operating characteristics of the motor vehicle, as detected by sensors 54. Many control schemes are known in the art for determining a desired torque level to be transferred through a transfer clutch and adaptively controlling such actuation of the transfer clutch. In this regard, commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,323,871 discloses a non-limiting example of a clutch control scheme and the various sensors used therewith, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.
Referring now to
To provide means for moving pressure plate 196 between its released and locked positions, clutch actuator assembly 182 is generally shown to include an electric motor/brake unit 210, a torque/force conversion mechanism 212, and a force amplification mechanism 214. Motor/brake unit 210 includes an annular stator 216 that is secured to housing 60 and which has a coil 218, and a rotor 220 having a plurality of permanent magnets 230 secured thereto in close proximity to coil 218.
Torque/force conversion mechanism 212 is a ball screw operator 232 having an internally-threaded nut 234, an externally threaded screw 236, and balls 238 disposed in the aligned threads therebetween. Screw 236 is supported on an annular hub segment 240 of drum 188. A drive plate 242 is secured to one end of screw 236 and has a series of circumferentially aligned axially-extending pins 244. Pins 244 pass through a series of commonly aligned throughbores 246 formed in a plate segment 248 of drum 188. Nut 234 is shown to be formed integrally with rotor 220 and axially restrained between a pair of thrust washer assemblies 250. One of thrust washer assemblies 250 is disposed between a first end of nut 234 and a support plate 252 that is rotatably supported from housing via a bearing assembly 254. The other thrust washer assembly 250 is disposed between a second end of nut 234 and a cup-shaped retainer 256 that is secured to plate segment 248 of drum 188. Since drum 188 is driven by rear output shaft 32, the location of pins 244 within throughbores 246 causes screw 236 to likewise rotate in common with rear output shaft 32. As before, when no energy is applied/absorbed to drive/brake rotation of rotor 220, nut 234 rotates in unison with screw 236.
Ball screw operator 232 is operable to cause axial movement of screw 236 relative to nut 234 between its retracted and extended positions in response to relative rotation therebetween. The axially-directed thrust force generated by such axial movement of screw 234 is transferred from pins 244 to pressure plate 196 via force amplification mechanism 214. Force amplification mechanism 214 includes a series of disk levers 260 and having an outer end fixed via a spline connection to drum 188 and an inner end in engagement with the free end of pins 244. Levers 260 each have an intermediate portion engaging rim flange 198 on pressure plate 196. A return spring assembly 262 is disposed between hub 184 and disk levers 260 and includes a spring retainer 264 and a plurality of wave springs 266 disposed between a flange on spring retainer 264 and the inner end of disk levers 260 opposite pins 244. As seen, retainer 264 is located on rear output shaft 32 between an end of hub segment 268 of sprocket 102 by a thrust washer 270 and snap ring 272. Wave springs 266 are provided to bias disk levers 260 to a released position which, in turn, functions to bias screw 234 toward its retracted position.
The function and operation of motor/brake unit 210 is generally similar to that of motor/brake unit 110 in that energization of coil 218 in either of its motor and brake modes controls axial travel of screw 236 relative to nut 234. Screw 236 is moveable between its retracted and extended positions relative to nut 234 for causing pins 244 to pivot levers 260 so as to move pressure plate 196 between its corresponding released and locked positions. By way of example, screw 236 is shown in
To illustrate an alternative power transmission device to which the present invention is applicable,
Torque coupling 280 includes a multi-plate clutch assembly 294 operably disposed between driveshaft 278 and pinion shaft 292 and which includes a hub 296 fixed for rotation with driveshaft 278, a drum 298 fixed for rotation with pinion shaft 282, and a clutch pack 300. Torque coupling 280 also includes a clutch actuator assembly 302 for controlling the magnitude of the clutch engagement force applied to clutch assembly 294 and thus the amount of drive torque transferred from driveshaft 278 to rear differential 28. According to the present invention, clutch actuator assembly 302 is contemplated to be similar to either of clutch actuator assemblies 82 and 182 in that an electric motor/brake unit controls translation of an operator mechanism which, in turn, controls engagement of clutch pack 300.
Torque coupling 280 permits operation in any of the drive modes previously disclosed. For example, if the on-demand 4WD mode is selected, controller 58 regulates activation of clutch actuator 302 in response to the operating conditions detected by sensors 54 by controllably varying the electric control signal sent to the motor/brake unit. Selection of the part-time 4WD mode results in complete engagement of clutch pack 300 such that pinion shaft 292 is, in effect, rigidly coupled to driveshaft 278. Finally, in the two-wheel drive mode, clutch pack 300 is released such that pinion shaft 292 is free to rotate relative to driveshaft 278. Alternatively, elimination of mode select mechanism 56 would provide automatic on-demand operation of torque coupling 280 in a manner completely transparent to the vehicle operator.
Referring now to
Transfer unit 35 is a right-angled drive mechanism including a ring gear 324 fixed for rotation with drum 320 of clutch assembly 318 and which is meshed with a pinion gear 326 fixed for rotation with driveshaft 278. As seen, a clutch actuator assembly 328 is schematically illustrated for controlling actuation of clutch assembly 318. According to the present invention, clutch actuator assembly 328 is similar to one of clutch actuator assemblies 82 and 182 previously described in that an electric motor/brake unit controls translational movement of an operator mechanism which, in turn, controls engagement of clutch pack 322. In operation, drive torque is transferred from the primary (i.e., front) driveline to the secondary (i.e., rear) driveline in accordance with the particular mode selected by the vehicle operator via mode selector 56. For example, if the on-demand 4WD mode is selected, controller 58 regulates actuation of clutch actuator 328 in response to the vehicle operating conditions detected by sensors 54 by varying the electric signal sent to the electric motor/brake unit. In this manner, the level of clutch engagement and the amount of drive torque that is transferred through clutch pack 322 to the rear driveline through transfer unit 35 and driveshaft 278 is adaptively controlled. Selection of a locked or part-time 4WD mode results in full engagement of clutch assembly 318 for rigidly coupling the front driveline to the rear driveline. In some applications, the mode selector 56 may be eliminated such that only the on-demand 4WD mode is available so as to continuously provide adaptive traction control without input from the vehicle operator.
In addition to the on-demand 4WD systems shown previously, the power transmission technology of the present invention can likewise be used in full-time 4WD systems to adaptively bias the torque distribution transmitted by a center or “interaxle” differential unit to the front and rear drivelines. For example,
A torque transfer mechanism, referred to as torque bias coupling 280C, is shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
Drive axle assembly 370 can be used alone or in combination with other torque transfer mechanisms disclosed herein. In particular, drive axle assembly 370 can be associated with the primary axle in a rear wheel based on-demand 4WD drivetrain (
The drivetrain shown in
Referring now to
In addition to controller 58, yaw control system 416 includes a plurality of sensors for detecting various operational and dynamic characteristics of vehicle 410. For example, a front wheel speed sensor 418 is provided for detecting a front wheel speed value based on rotation of propshaft 278, a pair of rear wheel speed sensors 420 are operable to detect the individual rear wheel speed values based rotation of left and right axleshafts 25L and 25R, and a steering angle sensor 422 is provided to detect the steering angle of a steering wheel 424. The sensors also include a yaw rate sensor 426 for detecting a yaw rate of the body portion of vehicle 410, a lateral acceleration sensor 428 for detecting a lateral acceleration of the vehicle body, and a lock switch 430 for permitting the vehicle operator to intentionally shift drive mechanism 414 into a locked mode. As will be detailed, controller 58 controls operation of a pair of torque transfer mechanism within drive mechanism 414 by utilizing a control strategy that is based on input signals from the various sensors and lock switch 430.
Drive axle assembly 412 includes an axle housing 432 within which drive mechanism 414 is rotatably supported. In general, torque distributing drive mechanism 414 includes an input pinion shaft 434 driven by propshaft 278, a differential 436, a speed changing unit 438, a first torque coupling 440 and a second torque coupling 442. As seen, input shaft 434 includes a pinion gear 444 that is in constant mesh with a hypoid ring gear 446. Ring gear 446 is fixed for rotation with a drive case 448 associated with differential 436. As seen, differential 436 is a planetary gearset having an annulus gear 450 fixed for rotation with drive case 448, a sun gear 452 fixed for rotation with right axleshaft 25R, a differential carrier 454 fixed for rotation with left axleshaft 25L, and meshed pairs of first planet gears 456 and second planet gears 458. First planet gears 456 are shown to be meshed with sun gear 452 while second planet gears 458 are meshed with annulus gear 450. Differential carrier 454 is a multi-piece assembly having a front carrier ring 460 interconnected to a rear carrier ring 462 with first and second pins extending therebetween on which corresponding first and second planet gears 456 and 458 are rotatably supported. Differential 436 is operable to transfer drive torque from drive case 448 to axleshafts 25L and 25R at a ratio defined by the gear components while permitting speed differentiation therebetween. Preferably, a 50/50 torque split ratio is established by differential 436 for use in this particular drive axle application. It should be understood that differential 436 is merely intended to represent one differential arrangement applicable for use with the present invention and that the other known planetary and hypoid-type differentials could be substituted for use with the present invention.
Speed changing unit 438 includes a gearset having an input sun gear 470, an output sun gear 472, and a plurality of equally-spaced compound gears 474. Speed changing unit 438 also includes a first shaft 476 which connects input sun gear 470 for common rotation with drive case 448 and a second shaft 478 which is driven by output sun gear 472. Compound gears 474 each include a first speed gear 482 that is interconnected to a second speed gear 484 via an integral hub segment 486. Furthermore, first speed gear 482 of each compound gear 474 is meshed with input sun gear 470 while its corresponding second speed gear 484 is meshed with output sun gear 472. Compound gears 474 are rotatably supported on pins 488 that are fixed to a support plate segment 490 of housing 52.
In operation, speed changing unit 438 functions to cause a change in the rotary speed of second shaft 478 relative to the rotary speed of first shaft 476. In particular, the speed ratio established between first shaft 476 and second shaft 478 is based on the size and number of teeth for each gear component of speed changing unit 438. In accordance with one first preferred arrangement, speed changing unit 438 is an “overdrive” unit that is operable to increase the speed of second shaft 478 relative to first shaft 476. To accomplish such a speed increase, it is contemplated that input sun gear 470 could have 27 teeth and output sun gear 484 could have 24 teeth while both first speed gear 474 and second speed gear 104 of compound gears 94 could each have 17 teeth pursuant to one non-limiting example for speed changing unit 438.
With continued reference to
As will be recalled, speed changing unit 438 is driven by drive case 448 of differential 436 and functions to increase the rotary speed of second shaft 478. Thus, first coupling 440 functions in its locked mode to increase the rotary speed of differential carrier 454 which, in turn, causes a corresponding increase in the rotary speed of left axleshaft 25L. Such an increase in the rotary speed of left axleshaft 25L causes differential 436 to drive right axleshaft 25R at a corresponding reduced speed, thereby directing more drive torque to left axleshaft 25L than is transmitted to right axleshaft 25R. First coupling 440 is shifted between its released and locked modes via actuation of power-operated clutch actuator 128A in response to control signals from controller 58.
Second coupling 442 is shown to be operably disposed between right axleshaft 25R and clutch drum 480. In particular, second coupling 442 includes a clutch hub 504 that is fixed for rotation with right axleshaft 25R, a multi-plate clutch pack 506 disposed between hub 504 and drum 480, and a power-operated clutch actuator assembly 182B. As seen, clutch actuator assembly 182B is similar to that of clutch actuator assembly 182A such that common/similar components are identified with corresponding “A” and “B” suffixes. Specifically, clutch actuator assembly 182B includes an electric motor/brake unit 210B and a ball screw operator 232B for controlling axial movement of a pressure plate 196B relative to clutch pack 506. Accordingly, selective actuation of motor/brake unit 210B in either of its motor and brake modes controls relative rotation between nut 234B and screw 236B of operator 232B for controlling axial movement of screw 236B. Screw 236B is shown to be supported on hub 504 but could likewise be supported on right axleshaft 25R. Second coupling 442 is operable in a first or “released” mode so as to permit unrestricted relative rotation between axleshaft 25R and second shaft 478. In contrast, second coupling 442 is also operable in a second or “locked” mode to couple axleshaft 25R for common rotation with second shaft 478. Thus, second coupling 442 functions in its locked mode to increase the rotary speed of right axleshaft 25R which, in turn, causes differential 436 to decrease the rotary speed of left axleshaft 25L, thereby directing more drive torque to right axleshaft 30R than is directed to left axleshaft 25L. Second coupling 442 is shifted between its released and locked modes via actuation of power-operated clutch actuator 182B in response to control signals from controller 58.
In accordance with the arrangement shown, torque distributing drive mechanism 414 is operable in coordination with yaw control system 416 to establish at a least four distinct operational modes for controlling the transfer of drive torque from input shaft 434 to axleshafts 25L and 25R. In particular, a first operational mode is established when first coupling 440 and second coupling 442 are both in their released mode such that differential 436 acts as an “open” differential so as to permit unrestricted speed differentiation with drive torque transmitted from drive case 448 to each axleshaft 25L and 25R based on the tractive conditions at corresponding rear wheels 24L and 24R. A second operational mode is established when both first coupling 440 and second coupling 442 are in their locked mode such that differential 436 acts as a “locked” differential with no speed differentiation permitted between rear axleshafts 25L and 25R. This mode can be intentionally selected via actuation of lock switch 430 when vehicle 410 is being operated off-road or on poor roads.
A third operational mode is established when first coupling 440 is shifted into its locked mode while second coupling 442 is operable in its released mode. As a result, left axleshaft 25L is overdriven at the same increased speed as second speed gear 484. As noted, such an increase in the rotary speed of left axleshaft 25L causes a corresponding speed reduction in right axleshaft 25R. Thus, this third operational mode causes right axleshaft 25R to be underdriven while left axleshaft 25L is overdriven when required to accommodate the current tractive or steering condition detected and/or anticipated by controller 58 based on the particular control strategy used. Likewise, a fourth operational mode is established when first coupling 440 is shifted into its released mode and second coupling 442 is shifted into its locked mode. As a result, right rear axleshaft 25R is overdriven relative to drive case 448 which, in turn, causes left axleshaft 25L to be underdriven at a corresponding reduced speed. Thus, this fourth operational mode causes right axleshaft 25R to be overdriven while left axleshaft 25L is underdriven when required to accommodate the current tractive or steering conditions detected and/or anticipated by controller 58.
At the start of vehicle 410, power from engine 18 is transmitted to front wheels 34L and 34R through transmission 20′ and front differential 38′. Drive torque is also transmitted to torque distributing drive mechanism 414 through PTU 35 and propshaft 270 which, in turn, rotatably drives input pinion shaft 434. Typically, couplings 440 and 442 would be released such that drive torque is transmitted through differential 436 to rear wheels 25L and 25R. However, upon detection or anticipation of lost traction at front wheels 34L and 34R, one or both torque couplings 440 and 442 can be engaged to provide more drive torque to rear wheels 25L and 25R based on the tractive needs of the vehicles.
In addition to on-off control of the couplings to establish the various drive modes associated with overdrive connections through speed changing unit 438, it is further contemplated that variable clutch engagement forces can be generated by power-operated actuators 182A and 182B to adaptively regulate the left-to-right speed and torque characteristics. This “adaptive” control feature functions to provide enhanced yaw and stability control for vehicle 410. For example, a reference yaw rate can be determined based on several factors including the steering angle detected by steering angle sensor 422, the vehicle speed as calculated based on signals from the various speed sensors, and a lateral acceleration as detected by lateral acceleration sensor 428. Controller 58 compares this reference yaw rate with an actual yaw rate value detected by yaw sensor 426. This comparison will determine whether vehicle 410 is in an understeer or an oversteer condition so as to permit yaw control system 416 to be adaptively control actuation of the couplings to accommodate these types of steering tendencies. Controller 58 can address such conditions by shifting drive mechanism 414 into the specific operative drive mode that is best suited to correct the actual or anticipated oversteer or understeer situation. Optionally, variable control of the couplings also permits adaptive regulation of the side-to-side torque transfer and speed differentiation characteristics if one of the distinct drive modes is not adequate to accommodate the current steer tractive condition. In accordance with the power sharing feature of this invention, electric power to motor/brake unit 210A of first torque coupling 440 is shown by power line 508 while regenerated power is shown by dashed line 510. Similarly, electric power flow to electric motor/brake unit 210B of second torque coupling 442 is shown by power line 512 while regenerated power is shown by dashed lien 514.
Referring now to
Drive mechanism 414′ is similar but slightly different in operation compared to drive mechanism 414 in that first coupling 440 now functions to cause left axleshaft 25L to be underdriven relative to right axleshaft 25R while second coupling 442 functions to cause right axleshaft 25R to be underdriven relative to left axleshaft 25L. As such, the four distinct operational modes previously described are again available and can be established by drive mechanism 414′ via selective actuation of power-operated clutch actuators 182A and 182B.
Referring now to
Referring primarily to
Control over actuation of torque couplings 440 and 442 results in corresponding increases or decreases in the rotary speed of rear output shaft 522 relative to front output shaft 520, thereby controlling the amount of drive torque transmitted therebetween. In particular, when both torque couplings are released, unrestricted speed differentiation is permitted between the front and rear output shafts while the gear ratio established by the components of interaxle differential 436 controls the front-to-rear torque ratio based on the current tractive conditions of the front and rear wheels. In contrast, with both torque couplings engaged, a locked four-wheel drive mode is established wherein no interaxle speed differentiation is permitted between the front and rear output shafts. Such a drive mode can be intentionally selected via lock switch 430 when vehicle 10 is driven off-road or during severe road conditions. An adaptive full-time four-wheel drive mode is made available under control of traction control system 416′ to limit interaxle slip and vary the front-rear drive torque distribution ratio based on the tractive needs of the front and rear wheels as detected by the various sensors. In addition to transfer case 22C, vehicle 10 could also be equipped with a rear axle assembly 540 having the limited slip arrangement of
Referring now to
In operation, rotors 120L and 120R are driven due to rotation of axleshafts 25L and 25R respectively. Under normal operation, control system 416 keeps both rotors rotating along with their corresponding axleshaft to produce a voltage that is proportional to their rotational speed, such that no power is consumed or generated. However, when a yaw condition dictates individual axleshaft speed control, control system 416 functions to increase the speed of one axleshaft and decrease the speed of the other axleshaft. An increase in speed of one axleshaft is a result of its corresponding motor/brake unit being shifted into its motor mode. Likewise, shifting of the motor/brake unit into its brake mode results in a decrease in rotary speed of the corresponding axleshaft. Differential 28 functions to transmit a corresponding increase or decrease to the other axleshaft such that either motor/brake unit can be independently operated or both can be operated in concert.
A control system for controlling operation of the motor/brake unit(s) will now be detailed. In general, the control system, and its associated algorithms, is employed to control a brushless dc motor-based clutch actuator assembly. The actuator assembly, in turn, permits modulated control of the torque outputted from its associated clutch assembly. The control system can receive a torque output command from a powertrain control module via a communications link. This command is translated into an electric current level for the brushless motor by the algorithms. A desired current level is maintained in the motor by a feedback control loop, either by sensing the actual motor current or by sensing the actual torque outputted by the clutch assembly. Commutation of the brushless motor drive is also performed by the controller. The motor position is relayed to the controller by the output state of three hall effect sensors embedded in the coil windings. The controller energizes the correct winding pair based on the output from the hall sensors and the desired direction of rotor rotation.
An H-bridge circuit 624 is configured from four controlled switches (i.e., relay, transistor) that allows control of both the direction and magnitude of electric current through a load (i.e., motor). Two of the four switches are activated to direct current in a given direction. In addition, one of the two remaining devices is modulated so as to control the amount (magnitude) of current.
Motor field block 626 represents the coils and pole pieces of the windings associated with motor/brake units' field. Motor armature 628 is the rotating member of the motor (i.e., the rotor) that also carries the magnet pole pairs. An encoder 630 is a sensor that outputs a signal which identifies the position of the motor armature with respect to the field coils, as well as the speed and direction of motor rotation. This block is necessary for realizations where the motor is electrically commutated (i.e., brushless motors). As is obvious, torque sensor 612 outputs an electrical signal that is proportional to the torque applied to the device to which the sensor is attached. A current sensor 632 outputs an electrical signal that is proportional to the electrical current acting thereon. In the absence of a torque sensor, a torque estimator 634 can be employed to estimate the clutch output torque. It does so by operating mathematically on the current sensor's signal to provided an estimate of the output torque. In practice, this may be a simple linear relationship or a more complex function.
A number of preferred embodiments have been disclosed to provide those skilled in the art an understanding of the best mode currently contemplated for the operation and construction of the present invention. The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that various modifications can be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications as would be considered by those skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||475/150, 475/225, 475/204|
|International Classification||F16H48/30, F16H37/08|
|Cooperative Classification||F16D48/064, F16H48/22, F16H2048/204, F16D2500/7109, F16H48/20, F16D2500/10431, B60K23/0808, F16H48/10, F16D2500/7042, B60K17/3467, F16H2048/106, F16H48/08, F16H48/05, F16D28/00, F16D2500/10425, F16H48/26, F16D2500/7044, F16H48/30, F16D2500/70418, Y10T477/26, F16H2048/343, B60K23/04, F16D27/004, F16H48/34, F16H48/11, F16D2500/1025|
|European Classification||F16D28/00, B60K23/04, F16D48/06E, F16H48/10, F16H48/22, F16H48/11, F16H48/05, F16H48/30, F16H48/08, F16H48/34, F16H48/26, B60K23/08B, B60K17/346C|
|Sep 20, 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 13, 2011||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 5, 2011||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20110213